When I need a moment to catch my breath, I head to one of the amazing parks nearby; Letchworth, Stony Brook, Al Lorenz, Vitale, Hemlock Lake… I really could just go on and on with this list. There is no excuse for not getting outside and enjoying God’s beautiful creation all around us.
But sometimes, I only have a few moments and need a distraction. So I head to Goodwill, or GW as it’s called. To wander, look, find a few bargains. Sometimes I stumble upon a beautiful jacket or new pair of shoes. Yes, I actually buy much of my clothing and shoes there; you would be surprised at how many brand new ones I find. Mostly I find items to use in my altar design. It also gives me the opportunity to talk to people I otherwise would not have access to — students needing the same kind of break, distraught mothers looking for winter boots for their kids with only a few dollars to spend, a treasure seeker, looking for the “big find”. It’s all in fun.
This past week however, when I stopped in, I was horrified by what greeted me at the door. Yep, you guessed it, “horror” of every kind. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the “good fun” in Halloween decorating, orange frosting on a cupcake, purple spider webs and handing out candy at my door. But the horrific masks, and pictures on sweatshirts of horror films has gone tooooooo far! I had my 23-month old grandson with me, and I had to keep steering the cart away from the scary things.
I was, in that moment, and am, grateful that I have the blessing in my life of being able to choose to move away from the scary things. I pray for all of those who do not have the choice, who must live daily surrounded by fear. I encourage each of us to pray for those who live in fear, and to give thanks to God for the ability to be grateful, and as Diana Butler Bass says in her email devotional, The Cottage, 9/21/23 edition, being grateful isn’t just happy talk.
“Being grateful isn’t a magic wand or kind of prosperity mantra. Rather, it rearranges the way we see the world. As we practice redirecting our attention toward the gifts in our lives, gratitude lessens our fears, strengthens our hearts, and builds our resilience.”
I give thanks for the opportunity to serve God and God’s people. I pray you are able to find time to get out and enjoy the beauty of Autumn all around us. And if you find the scary things creeping in, please, please reach out to one of the many resources available in our area, and remember,
“Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.“ (Isaiah 41:10, The Message)
With many blessings,